Blog, Pasadena and local, post production for film and video, sound

Tribute [the band] live mix off the board

We recorded our live show at the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department’s annual Fun In The Sun Chili Cookoff in October 2011. Straight off the board, with some compression/limiting done after the fact. Sounds great. And some really nice photography by Katie Macquarrie to show off the band.

We had a great time. Check out Tribute for more information. Maybe you want to book us for your next event!

Blog, Pasadena and local, post production for film and video, sound, Uncategorized

Kari Davis covers Johnny Cash’s "It Ain’t Me, Babe"

Kari Davis, one of the fabulous students from the Pasadena Musical Theatre Program, sat down with me and recorded a few covers (as well as a few of her own original tunes). This is her take on an old Johnny (and June) Cash song, It Ain’t Me, Babe.

Nice.

Blog, business, graphic design, Pasadena and local, portfolio

Hearken Creative Announces "The Planetary Report" Magazine Redesign


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : October 2011

Planetary Society Headquarters, Pasadena, CA

Hearken Creative (www.hearkencreative.com) of Pasadena, CA is proud to announce a historic magazine redesign — the first in the magazine’s 31-year history. The Planetary Report is a highly-regarded quarterly member magazine, bringing space research and advocacy news to 50,000 readers worldwide and commissioned by the Planetary Society of Pasadena, CA. The first two redesigned issues were released in June 2011 and October 2011.

The Planetary Report was introduced soon after the Planetary Society was launched in 1980 by scientist/author Carl Sagan, JPL/Caltech professor Bruce Murray, and JPL scientist Louis Friedman. The desire for a new look and focus prompted incoming executive director Bill Nye to turn to Loren A. Roberts of Hearken Creative for a complete re-design of the magazine, including adding a brand new kids’ section that capitalizes on the Bill Nye the Science Guy™ brand.

“Loren gave our 31-year-old magazine a beautiful new look,” said Bill Nye, executive director of the Planetary Society. “Beautiful pictures just jump out at you, and the text is mysteriously easier than before to read. We are delighted with his work.”

“It’s an honor for us to assume the creative mantle for a magazine seen around the world,” said Loren A. Roberts, principal of Hearken Creative. “We are proud of the Planetary Society’s mission, and our partnership with them over fourteen years; and we look forward to this new chapter in our history together.”

The relationship between the Society and Hearken Creative began in 1997 when Roberts designed all of the graphics for Planetfest’97, a convention where tens of thousands of people watched Mars Pathfinder land on Mars using a real-time link from JPL at the Pasadena Convention Center. All printed graphics, banners, signage, advertising, and online graphics were designed by Hearken Creative. Since then the partnership has grown, with Hearken Creative designing t-shirts, logos, posters, websites, brochures and more for the Society. Continue reading

Blog, business, Pasadena and local

Todd Roberts, lighting designer extraordinaire

So I’m very impressed by what my brother has been able to do. He started his business right about the same time as I started mine. And now, he’s being covered in trade publications as a true expert in his craft. Congratulations! Here’s a quick excerpt:

Although he’s created light shows at some of the world’s most glamorous events, LD Todd Roberts maintains a distinctively low profile and simple lifestyle.  The veteran designer still enjoys unloading rigs at his events, and would prefer to relax with his family on the beach than anything more glamorous. Todd’s work is intricate and often edgy, but his personal life is unpretentious and rooted in basic values. He wouldn’t have it any other way.

Read the rest of the article (plus interview) on Elation Lighting’s E-news.

Blog, business, Pasadena and local, photography, portfolio

The Perfect Gentlemen at Levitt Pavilion

The Perfect Gentlemen are a riveting vocal group here in Southern California. A few weeks ago, I dropped everything in my office and walked over to the Levitt Pavilion at Memorial Park here in downtown Pasadena to see them perform. And then I pulled out my camera. The light was really harsh, because it was sunset (I hate to think of the blinding spotlight the performers were enduring onstage!), but everything turned out really warm and summery. Lots of fun.

Blog, business, Pasadena and local, post production for film and video, sound

Violin Amazingness

Jules Massenet, “Meditation from ‘Thaïs'”

I like to promote things. I’m a producer — a promoter — a big-picture kinda guy. And so when I become friends with an incredible artist, like Buddy Zapata or Lauralee Farrer, I can’t help but want to promote their art in any way I can. And I have skillz. I can take press photographs (see my post on T-Lou). I can shoot video (see the stuff I did of Buddy Zapata). I’m now producing (check out Not That Funny on Facebook). And now I can record live concerts. Laurie Niles is a fellow parent at McKinley School, where my kids go. Laurie is a violinist, a music teacher and educator, and a friend. She runs the crazy-cool website violinist.com, and this past Spring, she agreed to do a concert of violin music in the school auditorium. It was simply amazing. And I got to record it.

I think the live recording sounds pretty good, no, it sounds great. But live was even better. I wish you all could have been there. If you ever get the chance to see her in concert, it’s a treat. And every piece of music was unexpected — none of the “standard” classical fare. Here’s the trio that started the concert (the audio on this video is simply from the Flip camera — sometime I’ll marry up my audio with their video, but it’s not a priority right now):

And it was all that good. The “Meditation from ‘Thaïs'” that you heard at the top of this post was her encore, and it was a beautiful, peaceful way to end a magnificent evening of violin music.

I feel so privileged to be around such awesome talent. It’s fun. It’s challenging to me as an artist. And these people become great friends too, friends that I hope to be promoting and hanging out with and enjoying each others’ company 20 years from now.

So enjoy the music, and enjoy life, and enjoy the friends and family that you get to experience life with.

Blog, business, graphic design, Pasadena and local, post production for film and video, sound

The movie we’re shooting


Not That Funny is a movie that is shooting currently in Sierra Madre, CA. I am an associate producer on the show. What does that mean? Well, it can mean anything, but for me, what it has meant so far is

  • recording production sound for a week before our wonderful sound guy came on board
  • renting my Canon 7D camera, lights, hard drives, and other useful stuff to the production
  • managing the digital workflow for set-to-editor-to-director-to-post, as well as managing dailies
  • general help on-set and off-set
  • even some graphic design! (see the photo of a fake poster above)
  • maybe sound design.

The cast and crew is incredible. We are halfway through 25 days of shooting, followed by some additional pickups and various projects to get the film ready for completion. The editing process will take several months of massaging the footage to make it serve the story. Our hope is that it will get picked up for a few film festivals in early 2011, and then see theatrical distribution sometime during the year.

Our cast is outstanding, anchored by John Kapelos (remember Breakfast Club?), K Callan, Brigid Brannagh (Army Wives), and the amazing Tony Hale (Arrested Development).

Check the movie out:

Blog, business, graphic design, Pasadena and local, post production for film and video, sound

What Hearken Creative did this summer, Part 2

Did I mention we were busy this summer? (By the way, my son is the one in the yellow cap above…playing the nerd. Perfect casting.)(Oh, and the fantastic photos of this summer’s shows were taken by New York-based pro photographer Matthew Murphy. He got some incredible shots.)

The Pasadena Musical Theatre Program is a decades-old training program for kids in Pasadena, CA. But I would call this a kid’s program on steroids, or, better, a pro theatre program that just happens to have kids as its focus. But this summer we held a master class with Megan Hilty of Wicked fame, held a class entitled Pursuing a Career in Musical Theatre, and did a American Idol-style solo competition, in addition to the two main shows that are produced every summer. Ryan Scott Oliver (award-winning musical composer), Cindy Abbott (wonderfully dedicated Pasadena music teacher), and Emily Clark (fabulous musical theatre performer and teacher) have transformed this program into a powerhouse that trains over 125 students every summer.

So what did Hearken Creative do? Well, for starters, I joined the board of the program last summer, because funding for arts has dried up with local school districts and I feel strongly about arts education. So, on our own, we have raised somewhere in the range of $50,000 every summer to make the program happen. In addition, Hearken Creative

  • provided all design services for print media, programs, and press releases,
  • photographed the Megan Hilty master class,
  • filmed the Promise Competition,
  • ran sound for all events, including the master class, meetings and competitions, and
  • sound designed both major shows — the Juniors (4th-6th graders) and the Seniors (7th-12th grade) shows.

Essentially, this was two weeks of wrangling a high school auditorium (that a friend aptly called an “airplane hangar”) into submission, using Hearken Creative-provided equipment, rented equipment, and the high school’s 40-year-old 24-channel mixer, as well as my own 16-channel digital mixer. Twenty wireless body mics, plus choir mics and band sound reinforcement.

And boy, did it sound good! We don’t have the professionally-produced video from KLRN yet, but several people have posted their home videos already. Here’s one:

and my son singing a solo at the Promise Competition:

Gimme Gimme, performed on July 8, 2010 from Loren A. Roberts on Vimeo.

The purpose of the program is twofold: first, arts education is vital to a well-rounded education, and music/dance hits so many of the other disciplines — math, reasoning, spatial relationships — that it seems stupid the schools are cutting performing arts. Secondly, there is an erroneous meme out there that there are no viable career options in performing arts. We aim to change that perception.

By using Hearken Creative’s graphic design skills, our production and sound design skills, as well as our music background and fundraising acumen, we were able to help make this summer’s Pasadena Musical Theatre Program a complete success.

Blog, business, graphic design, Pasadena and local, post production for film and video

Are we in good times or bad?

film-reel

Wow, it’s hard to get a hold on where the economy is, for entertainment companies both big and small. The L.A. Times has a story on how the toy industry is looking to large blockbuster films like Transformers to drive more and more toy sales, especially in the off-peak summer months. A story about the success of the movie industry? But a day earlier, the Times looked at how smaller production and support companies were being squeezed by runaway production — filming moving to cheaper locations out-of-state — and how it’s going to be hard for the SoCal economy to absorb the loss of work.

And is NBC-Universal for sale or not? Who knows. They have been having a hard time, both on television (Knight Rider) and at the moviess (Land of the Lost). But what happens to the big affects even us small companies.

But look at total box office figures for the last few years. We’re on track this year to at least keep up with last year, if not surpass it. People are still spending money on entertainment.

With all of the bad things that are going on in the economy, it’s good to look at a few bright spots. When an economic shakeout happens, the competition in the market becomes fiercer, allowing strong companies to strengthen their position and weaker ones to be weeded out. Interestingly, it’s not always those that stay out of bankruptcy protection that are the safest. And sometimes, especially in the entertainment industry, it becomes hard to capitalize on a successful business — like British films.

A few quick links:

  • My new friend Petrea from Pasadena Daily Photo did a series of pieces on our building in Old Town Pasadena last week. Interesting stuff, if you are into the history of old neighborhoods and buildings. Here are the three posts: 1, 2, 3, & 4.
  • Homage or plagiarism? Lots of designers are up in arms about this website for a Republican candidate for governor, including Print‘s Daily Heller blog. Is it plagiarism? I don’t know. But the similarities to Obama’s well-designed site for his candidacy are striking…
  • Copyblogger has a great little article about my favorite ad guy, Lloyd Ogilvie. Even though he wrote Ogilvie on Advertising decades ago, it still rings true for me as a marketer and graphic designer.

Happy Monday to you, wherever you are!